How to Hire an Amazing Head of Content Operations
Gone are the days when a single copywriter was expected to handle the full volume of an organization’s content production. Now, the motto of the day is “teamwork, making the dream work!”
A content operations team strategically manages all content produced by an organization. Members of the team work across many channels, breaking down traditional silos to maintain a cohesive voice for the business or brand.
It’s like a special ops team focused on creating content that brings leads through the funnel and closes deals.
And it’s anything but insular. Team members may work across a variety of functions:
Over half of all organizations have a dedicated content operations team, and 67% of companies plan to add new members to that team in the coming year.
As you might imagine, this task force needs a capable leader. The Head of Content Operations spearheads this special ops force. That involves guiding strategic planning and executing the company’s content. It also means supervising other team members, like the content strategist, product messaging strategist, and customer advocacy strategist.
The head of this team works to shape and communicate team priorities to ensure they meet the team’s goals. They also liaise between the team and the rest of the organization, act as team spokesperson, and track whether the team has met its quarterly goals.
Other daily responsibilities include:
- Supervising team members across functions
- Determining performance metrics for individual team members
- Prioritizing content requests and content backlog
- Providing guidance on maintaining brand consistency across departments and channels
In other words, the Head of Content Operations has a bird’s eye view of the team’s activities and works to keep everyone on task.
Qualities to Look for in a Head of Content Operations
Curious about what other companies are looking for in content marketers as a whole? Here’s an overview of what they find most essential in 2019, compared to 2014:
It’s helpful for the Head of Content Operations to have skills in many of these areas, but marketing expertise and the ability to collaborate across functions are much more vital for this role than technical video skills.
If you’re looking to hire a Head of Content Operations, these are the most crucial qualities to look for:
- Excellent communication and writing skills
- Proven managerial ability
- Strong grasp of contemporary marketing and related technology
- Ability to see (and stay tuned into) the big picture
- At least ten years of experience in related roles
You’ve probably already guessed that you need a natural leader to manage this team. You want someone with a wealth of experience in managing a content team—an excellent leader who is also savvy in content creation. You want someone who can adapt to the inevitable changes in the digital market. That means you should look for a candidate who’s already navigated the various transitions the world of digital content has undergone over the past decade or so.
You need someone who can carry your organization’s vision into every campaign, helping everyone understand how to stay on brand and true to the big picture. They should have great instincts about content, demonstrating excellent judgment on strategic choices in past campaigns. They must empower the people they supervise to propose innovative solutions, inspiring creativity and ingenuity.
Finally, the Head of Content Operations should thoroughly understand the roles of everyone on the team (and ideally, across the whole marketing team). While the Head of Content Operations doesn’t need to be a professional video producer, they should definitely understand what the video creator does on a day-to-day basis in order to be able to delegate tasks and manage workflow processes.
Leverage your social media networks—particularly LinkedIn—to target the most viable candidates, seeking out online groups on related topics. Advertise through both formal and informal professional networks as well as websites such as MediaBistro.
(If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a position as Head of Content Operations rather than hiring for that role, you’ll want to highlight your competencies in all of these areas. Good luck!)
Making the Most of the Interview: 12 Key Questions
Once you’ve secured top-tier candidates, don’t just ask generic questions that your prospects expect to hear. These more pointed questions will help you suss out if they’re truly the perfect fit for the job.
- Can you tell me about some inbound and outbound marketing campaigns you’ve spearheaded?
- What types of digital venues have you created content for?
- What strategies have you found most effective in lead management?
- What demand-generation tactics have you found most successful?
- How do you observe and monitor content campaigns across channels, team members, and timelines?
- Describe how you’ve integrated a big-picture view into a recent marketing campaign.
- What changes in the marketing realm have you found most challenging to adapt to? How did you navigate those changes?
- Describe a situation in which you had to deal with an underperforming employee. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time when your team had a content idea that didn’t match your strategic priorities. How did you proceed?
- What metrics do you use to measure content strategy based on the buying stage?
- Describe what some of the important roles across functions in your previous organization involve. What do those individuals do on a daily basis?
- Would you rather meet your sales accepted lead (SAL) goal with a low conversion rate or just miss the goal with a high conversion rate?
Look for someone who can enthusiastically share detailed answers to each of your questions while backing up their statements with solid evidence. Based on the energy and specific answers your interviewees convey, you’ll know when someone has a genuine passion for the role. If you already have a content production team, make sure members of the team get to meet your top choices and weigh in with their thoughts.
By finding the ideal Head of Content Operations, you’ll help ensure the success of all your content marketing initiatives. Talk with a number of qualified candidates, but when you find someone who seems like the perfect fit, seize the moment—they won’t be on the market for long!